| Scott Padgett certainly completed his
career at Kentucky as one of the great winners in the history of the program. After
a regular season that wasn't particularly spectacular, Padgett stepped it up
in the post-season, and if it weren't for his clutch play against Kansas in
the NCAA Tournament, the Wildcats would have exited in the 2nd round. When Kentucky
looked like it was dead against Michigan State in the Elite Eight, it was Padgett
that made things interesting before UK eventually lost. Who would have ever
thought that he would reach these heights after his high school career?
of high school, Padgett was a very lightly regarded prospect, and his choosing of
Kentucky over Louisville (being a Louisville native) was perhaps the only thing many
observers really knew about him. After a non-descript freshman year with limited
playing time, Padgett struggled in the classroom and was academically
ineligible to play the following year (UK's title team in '96), and spent the
year working, away from school. However, he was welcomed back to the team in the
fall of '97, and after he became eligible, immediately garnered solid playing time.
His play was big in helping UK reach the finals once again in '97. As a junior,
Padgett cemented himself in the starting lineup at power forward, and was a
key cog of Kentucky's '98 title team. It was his clutch 3 in the regional finals
versus Duke that capped Kentucky's brilliant comeback in that game. There were a lot
of expectations out of Padgett for his senior season, almost so much that it would
have been impossible for him to live up to. But while he eventually did not
live up to the lofty expectations, Padgett did have a solid senior campaign, where
he became a team leader and was the team's go-to guy in the clutch. Padgett finished
his career in UK's hallowed 1000 point club.
Padgett's big strength is his versatility. His outside shooting is
tremendous for someone his size, and even though he struggled a bit at the
beginning of 1998-99 with the 3, he was able to recoup late in the year. Padgett
also has a decent inside game with a few post moves. He is solid on the defensive
boards, and plays good team defense. One of the main questions surrounding Padgett
is his overall speed and quickness. He projects to be a small forward in the
pros, and observers wonder if he'll be able to keep up with the Scottie Pippens and
Grant Hills at the SF spot. While he has decent size, he may not be big enough to
play PF on a full-time basis. He has a little "tweener" in him
defensively, but offensively, he should be able to do fine at either position,
especially with his strength at outside shooting. Padgett silenced some
doubters with his excellent play at the Nike Desert Classic, the second of the three
pre-draft camps. He not only shot the ball well, but surprised some observers with
his lateral quickness. He made the all-tournament team and will likely play
again in the Chicago camp.
Projection? At least the late first round, especially with a good
performance in Chicago. Padgett is a solid prospect who has learned the game
well from Pitino and Smith at Kentucky, and that should bode well for his transition
into the pro game, especially considering the players that have made the NBA from
UK in recent years.
Scout: Phil Nation
|Scott Padgett comes to play basketball
every night, something he put on display this past season at Kentucky.
Padgett can play
either forward, and I see him playing mostly power forward in the NBA with some occasional
minutes at small forward. He is a very good shooter and an excellent passer offensively,
and he handles the ball well for someone his size. His game offensively doesn't fit that
of a traditional small or power forward; as good a shooter as he is, he is not good at
taking the ball to the basket, and he does not have much of a post game. Defensively, he
is a good rebounder.
Padgett showed this past season that he can play against the best and when there is
much on the line. He played great basketball in the NCAA Tournament, hitting many clutch
baskets and making the plays one expects a senior leader to make. He also shined at the
postseason camps. He has a very good grasp of the mental aspects of the game, which will
allow him to play somewhere in the NBA.
Padgett will be a nice pickup for someone either late in the first round or in the
second round. A team drafting early in the second round would do well to grab him for his